how to live

The fading of a good memory is a sad occasion.  Good memories are very important to me.  For most of my life, good memories were something that I didn’t have very many of, and I coveted them.  When I did have good experiences, I wanted so badly to make sure that I remembered them, that I was more preoccupied with the act of making a memory than with the act of experiencing.  I worked hard at making good memories and keeping them vivid enough to pull out and wrap around myself when I needed them.

I wove experiences into memories and memories into security blankets, and the security blankets served their purpose.  They comforted me during times when there was nothing good to hold onto in the present.  But that is not the purpose of experience.  I was expecting something of life that I shouldn’t have, in trying to extend the domain of the present into the future.  Life is for living, not hoarding.

This past summer I made a vow to put experience above memory.  My goal now is simply to experience life.  In good times, to be fully present in such a way that even if I retained no memory of it, the fullness of the experience itself would be enough.  This is how I feel life should be lived.

This year I have experienced some truly amazing things that have left me with very sweet memories.  Now, the first of those memories are starting to fade in my recollection.  The details are beginning to slip away.  The fabric of those experiences is decaying very quickly.  Soon I’ll no longer remember them vividly enough to relive them in my mind.  Maybe I won’t remember them at all.  But I am content to say with all of my being that I was there once, I experienced them once.  I experienced them as much as they could be experienced.

This is also basically how I deal with mortality.  To live in such a way that living once is enough.  That when I am gone and there are no more memories of me or my life, I will have existed so strongly, lived so fully that it does not matter.

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3 thoughts on “how to live

  1. Josh

    This is a very Buddhist-esque post. I agree with the idea behind it, but I find that sometimes I am just too sentimental to actually live it.

    Reply
  2. Lily Post author

    I’m generally really sentimental too. But have you ever had an experience so brilliant, you thought it would totally be worth it even if you had no memory of it whatsoever? I did for the first time in Alaska this summer.

    Reply
  3. Josh

    Oh yes, definitely. There was a time when I got to hear a live performance of a choral piece I had written. That’s the biggest example that jumps to mind immediately.

    Reply

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